New safeguarding guidance for churches working with refugees and asylum seekers

Published 22 November 2019  |  
Reuters
Migrants queue for their daily meal in Calais after they travelled from the Mediterranean northwards in hope of seeking asylum in Britain.

New safeguarding guidance has been published for churches working with refugees and asylum seekers after 39 migrants were found dead inside a lorry in Essex last month.

The victims discovered inside the container in Grays, Essex, were all Vietnamese nationals and many of them were teenagers or in their twenties.

Two lorry drivers have since been charged with manslaughter, and several others have been arrested in connection with the tragedy.

The guidance has been produced jointly by Thirtyone:eight and Welcome Churches, and released to coincide with National Safeguarding Adults week.

It provides advice on how churches in the UK, no matter where they are based, can be places of welcome for refugees and asylum seekers in their community.

The document acknowledges the work already being done by churches to welcome 'the stranger' and demonstrate Christian love and hospitality, but says that it can still be a challenge to engage and offer support in a safe way.

Emily Holden, Operations Director at Welcome churches, said: "Welcome Churches is seeing huge growth in the number of churches joining our 'Welcome Network', an online platform profiling churches across the UK actively welcoming refugees into their communities.

"This is helping refugees all over the UK find a local church who will give them a warm welcome.

"As more and more churches are following the Biblical mandate to 'welcome the stranger' the safeguarding challenges can be difficult to navigate. We have been delighted to work with Thirtyone:eight to write these guidelines.

"They give much needed clarity to churches working with refugees and empower churches to welcome asylum seekers and refugees into the community and help them find a place to belong. These guidelines are beneficial to any church wanting to get involved in this ministry."

Bill Stone, Safeguarding Advisor at Thirtyone:eight, who helped develop the resource said: "Creating safe and welcoming places for refugees and asylum seekers within our churches is part of the church's mission.

"However, this needs to be done wisely in the full knowledge of the specific needs, risks and challenges this presents.

"That's why we've been so pleased to partner with Welcome Churches and bring our expertise together to produce this guidance and to help support the great work that is being done in this vital area."

The guidance can be downloaded at thirtyoneeight.org/resources

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